Dear I Don’t Feel Turbulence: You know us Mexicans—throw caution to the wind. We live in this country illegally under the spectre of deportation—and we make it. We live in Mexico under the spectre of the narcos—and we make it. We live in the shadow of El Norte—and we make it. We lived through the tyranny of Cortés, the Spanish crown, Santa Anna, the Porfiriato, PRI, Calderón, Carlos Slim and the popularity of MASECA—and we make it. Floundering economy on both sides of la frontera? Repeat after me, class: Mexicans make it! So, what’s a little ice on the wings, some twisted wires? Who cares if the Federal Aviation Administration downgraded AeroMexico to the status of Third World airlines? We still make it. Man, Ma Joad had nothing on us Mexis—we’re the cabrones that live (and, if you read the full quote, you’ll know she was advocating Reconquista!).
Dear Mexican: Who puts the intense pressure on all adolescent Mexican boys to either shave or buzz their cranium hair, regardless of the number of scars, large ears, or folds of ugly neck skin revealed? —Dirty White Boy Waiting for Godot
Dear Gabacho: That suffocating menace known as “youth culture,” with an assist from “prison culture” but not the “Mexican cultural expectations” your “pendejo ass culture” is insinuating. Simply put: like any teen trends, shaved heads started with youngsters imitating their friends, who imitated their older brothers and cousins, who imitated their peers. The two great historical fashion trendsetters in Mexican-American youth culture, according to James Diego Vigil’s Barrio Gangs: Street Life and Identity in Southern California, have been prisons and the military, and both subcultures prefer a close-cropped hair style for their men for efficiency’s sake. But if you ever see a baby with a shaved head, it’s most likely a kiddie shorn by their wabby parents in the belief that a thicker head of hair would emerge, a Mexican fable as laughable as the belief by children that the wrapped Xbox caja under the Christmas tree actually contains a gaming console and not underwear and socks.
Dear Mexican: An Anglo public servant would be embarrassed to death (or at least should be) if he posted a public sign with bad English grammar or spelling. So how come the same doesn’t apply to Spanish in the Estados Unidos? In Las Vegas, the caution signs on the bus doors have three words—recargarse, pararse, empujar—misspelled as recargarce, pararce, enpuja. In the Lowe’s hardware section free cutting service, on a huge letrero is translated “Liberte los Servicios Cortante” which is hilarious gibberish, incomprehensible to a Mexican. You and I couldn’t make up something like that if we tried! Why is it that bad written English is a sign of ignorance or stupidity, but Spanish …? —El Viejo Profe
Dear Old Professor: You really think it’s a fully bilingual Mexican doing those translations? It’s either a worker pulling something off the Internet, a pocho who doesn’t know any better, or … no, it’s a pinche pocho who doesn’t know any better but draws a nice salary by fooling clueless, monolingual gabachos into thinking he does. But Mexicans don’t care about mistranslations in trivial areas (unless they’re custodians of Cervantes, in which case they deserve to froth at the boca), and the pochos and their gabacho supervisors don’t know any better—so the mistranslations stay. Laugh, I say! We do!
GOOD MEXICANS OF THE WEEK!
DREAM Act students—duh. And not just the Mexis, but all the DREAMers who are more American than John Wayne, George Washington, and Lady Gaga put together. Support the most digestible form of amnesty, cabrones, and to all my Dreamers out there: keep the faith.
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, MySpace.com/OCWab, Facebook.com/Garellano, YouTube.com/AskeAMexicano, find him on Twitter or write via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433!